Tuesday, 25 November 2008


My first World Cup experience will definitely not be my last, because there is no way that I am leaving my track return on such a disappointing note. With a huge contingent of women competing in the Melbourne World Cup (video), I was forced to race out qualifying heats for both my scratch race and points score debuts, where entrants are split into two races, with 12 of 20 girls proceeding through to the finals from each heat. I was nervous leading into my two scheduled qualifying races, never for a second underestimating the difficulty of qualifying for a World Cup final on such little training and experience. I failed miserably, finishing 16th in the scratch and 14th in the points. After having had my first taste of European track racing, I am hungry for another bite in Beijing come January.

But prior to Beijing, in fact the day after World Cup racing, I was focused on the Victorian Omnium Championships (video). It is a points based system comprising five events, where the competitor with the lowest accumulative tally at the conclusion of racing is titled the winner. With no offence to my competitors, it was a step down in standards from World Cup and allowed me to enjoy and experiment with racing. I rode high pressures and the same gear all day, afraid of what might happen to my newly manicured nails had I attempted to play with tools! First up, the 200m flying (pictured above) and a third place, an event where I sprint as hard as I can and still feel like I haven't done anything when the effort is over. This was followed by a relatively slow 5km Scratch Race and another third placing.

My first win came in the 2km Individual Pursuit. Not riding to a schedule or having a coach track-side were two new things for me, but coming from a pursuit background allowed me to cruise to victory. With two events remaining, I had now taken over from early leader Hannah Bush and Chloe McConville by a single point, feeling better as the day wore on. Perhaps my best ride of the championships came in the 10km Points Score, after a rough initial sprint that became a little heated aggravated me enough to go on the attack and take a lap with Hannah and Chloe in tow. In the process, I took out the three remaining sprints, forgetting to keep some in reserve for the final event. Luckily a fourth place in the 500m Time Trial was enough to guarantee me victory (11) over Hannah (14) and Chloe (17) (pictured above).

After a long day at the track, it was time to frock up for the Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards (recipients), and it wouldn't be my life without a story behind the night so here goes! My Mum forgot my dress, so I searched Melbourne frantically for a friend with a fancy wardrobe (god hail Chloe). I missed my hair and make-up appointment, opting for straight hair that I then knotted up with a trial hair-spray (making it look like I hadn’t taken the time to brush it). I broke the strap on my heel, and after using my teeth eventually got it into satisfactory walking condition (hobbling). I arrived at the awards night one hour late (pictured above with Rochelle), missed entrĂ©e, inhaled my steak, stole Anna Meares’ dessert and spent a lot of time consuming free wine that was passing straight through me. My excuse? I celebrate every win :)

Results: World Cup, 5km Scratch Race, Qualifying Heat
Results: World Cup, 10km Scratch Race, Final
Results: World Cup, 10km Points Score, Qualifying Heat
Results: World Cup, 20km Points Score, Final
Results: Victorian Omnium Championships

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


So the track season has begun for me and I must admit it was in a less than desirable way. Despite very much looking the part for the week of the 2009 Oceania Track Championships, the results didn’t come in quite the fashion I had hoped for the team. After being stung $100 excess (thanks to Virgin) at Melbourne airport, I landed in Adelaide to be greeted by team-mates Rochelle Gilmore, Tiffany Cromwell and staff member Michael Hardy, who had put his life on hold to be at our beck and call during the championships. After heading to Glenelg and sitting through hair and make up (courtesy of Colour Cosmetica), we sported our new HP-Teschner kit for a photo shoot with Dan Peters Photography. A heat wave had hit Adelaide for the day, so after a few poses we relished a short dip in the water (pictured below with Rochelle, bottom with Tiff) before being reminded that we were cyclists…here to race.

I’m not used to pedalling continuously and I’m not used to pedalling fast. Combine these factors with a new Teschner bike (HOT) and lack of preparation and it’s no surprise that I started the week on struggle street. Rochelle had returned home from Europe only a few days prior, and Tiff hadn‘t touched a track bike since early 2006, so our tactic was simply to find our race legs. Thursday night saw us line up for the 20km Points Score final, where I became totally lost in the first sprint and found myself struggling with the speed. Rochelle managed to claim points in the second sprint, and moved into 4th after I led out the third sprint. As the race became aggressive, we became stronger, and after winning the fifth sprint we were warned for collusion. Rochelle took out the sixth sprint and would have taken the lead, but was instead disqualified for detouring onto the blue band! I was soo angry and almost pulled out in protest, instead I rolled in for 11th.

The following day saw us complete the 10km Scratch Race. I tried to be active and even found myself off the front for a few laps, but still I felt lost on the track. With six laps to go seven NZL’ers took the lead, but that didn’t stop Laura McCaughey (TIS) from taking a flyer and as a result, the win. Rochelle found herself boxed in with five laps to go finishing 7th, while I rolled in for 9th and Tiff 12th. My final race of the championships was the Omnium, consisting of five events in the one day and based on an accumulative points system. Despite being warned for collusion during the week, I was out to help Rochelle (who withdrew from the final event feeling fatigued) and get some extra racing in. My best result was, not surprisingly, 2nd in the 2km Individual Pursuit (above), which helped me to finish 6th overall from 13 starters. Racing is no doubt faster and more exciting than I remember, bringing an aspect of fun to competition.

When the session had concluded on Saturday night, I didn’t have the energy to eat dinner, let alone a meet and greet with track friends I hadn’t seen in years. Instead, I packed my bags and on Sunday morning, flew back to Melbourne to prepare for another week of suitcase living, accommodated in the Mecure hotel on Swanston Street. On arrival in Melbourne Rochelle and I met up with my Mum for an evening outing to the Rocky Horror Show. What better way to clear the head than to watch men…dressed as women, running around in heels doing the ‘time-warp’? It’s safe to say I loved the performance! But now, after a forced week of rest and recovery, I look ahead to my first ever Track World Cup. A scratch race and a point’s score later it will all be over. As a road rider, it’s hard to conceive how so much time and energy can go into something that lasts a whole of 7 minutes!

Results: 20km Points Score
Results: 10km Scratch Race
Results: 5-event Omnium

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


For those of you that don't read cyclingnews (team launch: scroll to last item), and for those I am yet to catch up with since my return to Australia...newsflash...I am back on the track! It has been a long time coming since the disappointment of claiming third at the Junior World Track Championships in 2006, and two years of hesitation finally sees me making that step forward. I will be riding as a member of the newly formed UCI Track Team HP-Teschner, and am scheduled to race events ranging from the Revolution Series to World Cup races. Dicker Data takes on the role as our main sponsor, while Teschner Technologies Group (TTG) are on board as our principal equipment partner. With the assistance of High 5 Nutrition and Oakley eyewear, there is no doubt I have the means to a way of success this season!

Last week I had my first track session in over two years, and as I expected, it hurt! I am in LOVE with my new full-carbon monocoque 'Teschner Track Pro' bike, and can't wait to ride their new carbon wheel sets in two weeks, where I will be competing in the Oceania Track Cycling Championships in Adelaide. From here, I will fly back to Melbourne to race the boards with the best of them in the second round of the World Cup. It will be a tough ask to be back in peak racing form for these races, but I will do my best to help out fellow Australian team-mate Rochelle Gilmore. I had lost all love for the track, but I believe that with the help of Scott McGrory as head VIS track coach, I can find that love again and rip up the boards this season! :) For those headed to the Melbourne Cup today (pictured above at Traralgon Ladies day with Sharmayne, Angie and Skye), I hope you pick a winner!